There wasn’t an empty spot in the Longhorn Steakhouse parking lot Friday morning when hungry patrons flocked to the restaurant to be served breakfast by their favorite local celebrities.
The 10th annual Celebrity Waiter Breakfast fundraiser for Dawson County Family Connection saw hundreds of customers lined up for delicious food and great service provided by familiar faces in the community.
“Everyone just seems to be really happy,” said Family Connection Coordinator Nancy Stites as she surveyed the restaurant. “People are enjoying themselves. We want Dawson to enjoy being around neighbors. It’s a great way to start the weekend off right.”
Customers were treated to a variety of breakfast favorites, from scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and hash browns to French toast, sausage, bacon, biscuits and muffins. There was something for everyone to enjoy at the June 1 breakfast.
Dr. Larry Anderson has been a celebrity waiter since the fundraiser’s beginning, but this year he didn’t don the apron. Instead he came as a customer for the first time, still showing his support for a great cause.
“It’s nice to be a customer,” Anderson said. “Everybody focuses on being a service leader here in Dawson County and that's what I love about Dawson.”
Courtney Harris, owner of Popcorn Penguin’s Balloons, floated around the room, making colorful balloon animals for eager children who couldn’t wait to play with the balloon poodles, monkeys and dinosaurs.
Harris said she donated her time and all the tips she raised were donated to Dawson County Family Connection.
“It’s an exciting event that raises funds to do great things in the community,” Commissioner Chris Gaines said as he prepared to make his rounds again.
Gaines enlisted his son, Carson, to follow him around with his tip jar.
The servers all engaged in “Tip Wars” to win the title of Celebrity Waiter of the Year. Having his adorable son carry the tip jar is something Gaines described as “strategy.”
And that strategy paid off. The Gaines duo raised $197.40 and earned the coveted title.
Stites said that special recognition also went to the independent duo, Rotarians Scott Yochum and Pepper Pettit, who dressed up as the Skipper and Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. The jolly pair went table by table offering a “three hour tour” and raised $205. Luckily none of the passengers for the three hour tour were lost at sea.
Dawson County Schools was well represented with Superintendent Damon Gibbs, BOE Chair Karen Armstrong, cross country coach Charles Beusse and Dawson County High School Principal Brody Hughes showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the steakhouse.
“I love it,” Armstrong said as she carried a tray. “It’s such a great cause to give back to Family Connection.”
It was Armstrong’s second year as a server. She said the customers were awesome and she’d love to do it again next year.
It was Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond’s first year as a server after attending last year as a customer.
“It’s fun,” said Thurmond. “I get to talk to lots of people.”
Dawson Family Connection is still tallying up the proceeds from the day, but confirmed that over 200 people attended and that they expect the profits from the event to be approximately $4,800 to $5,000, exceeding their 2017 total of $4,300.
“Dawson County has a heart for children,” said Stites. “We heard numerous times that this event was for a good cause – to prevent child abuse and neglect. We are happy to see that the cause was not overlooked.”
Dawson Family Connection is part of a statewide initiative of 159 community collaborative partnerships committed to making measureable improvements for children and families in Georgia. They are a partnership of organizations working with families to research the needs of children and families in the community, and working in turn to address those needs.
Partners include the Dawson County School System, the sheriff’s office, county and city government, the Department of Family and Children Services, the Department of Public Health and more.
For more information visit dawson.gafcp.org.